Lilah Parsons, 25 // TV presenter slash model slash sometime DJ
Lilah Parsons first pinged onto my radar when I was scouting street style at V Festival 2013, and, after gushing over her blue dip-dyed hair, asked if I could take her photo [below]. After I’d made a note of her name, I foolishly asked for her occupation and when she answered ‘MTV presenter’ without any hint of bitchiness at my blunder, my girl crush was ignited.
Following Lilah on Instagram (*cough* stalker *cough*) has done nothing to abate my lady love, as now I get to see her enviable outfits on the daily – and she just seems so consistently darn nice!
More fool me for not recognising her in the first place; turns out our Lilah is not only a TV presenter but a super successful international
woman of mystery fashion model, fronting campaigns for the likes of Urban Outfitters, Barry M, TK Maxx, Diesel and *cough* some French brand called Chanel.
So, intrigued, I approached her recently to say: ‘Lilah Parsons, we want your joooooooooooob!’ (and refrained from adding: ‘will you be my new best frieeeeeennnnnnnnd?!’).
When people ask you what you do for a living, what do you say?
TV presenter, ageing model (I’m 25 now, ancient!) . Oh and I like to DJ on the side.
What did you want to be when you were little?
Well, apart from once announcing, (aged about 6) that when I grew up I was going to be ‘a Duchess’ (#awkward) I think I always wanted to be an actress. Maybe I should be in Downton Abbey and kill two birds with one stone, ha!
Did you get a degree?
Nope! I attempted it (sort of!) but only lasted half a year at Exeter University studying French. I didn’t like the course and wanted to be doing something creative – possibly in fashion – so I moved back to London and went to art school.
What are your thoughts on needing a degree to succeed?
Look, if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher etc then sure; you’ve got to get a degree. But if you want to work in a more creative industry then no, I don’t think it’s a necessity.
I’d say hard work and determination are what you really need, and the patience to slog away doing the work experience and all the boring jobs at the beginning. My friends who have succeeded in fashion, TV, etc have all worked their way up; learnt their craft and really proved themselves as deserving of their roles.
From modelling to MTV, how did that happen?
Presenting wasn’t actually something I’d ever thought about doing (although obviously now I love it!)
Long story short: a year and a half ago I got the opportunity to be a judge on a modelling competition for ITV; through that I met a TV agent and the first screen test they got me was for MTV!
Ahh, yes – Top Dog Model [above]. Discuss?
Now see, when I said ‘modelling competition’, what I forgot to mention was that it was actually a modelling competition… for dogs, ha ha! It was such a fun job though; really light hearted and humorous – David Walliams did the voiceover, and it was all very camp!
In all seriousness though, I’m so grateful for that show. It gave me the opportunity to experience the totally new world of TV and the crew I worked with couldn’t have been lovelier or more encouraging.
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the formative years of your career?
Hmmm, I think I’ve still got quite a lot to learn! But in terms of modelling, probably just to be more confident and not compare myself to others and stress myself out. I learnt to just focus on ‘being the best I could be’, rather than making myself feel shit by thinking about what everyone else was up to.
If you’re interviewing a ‘tricky’ celeb, do you have a fail-safe technique to turn to?
Not really. I just try and create a rapport with them; sometimes it takes a bit of time for someone to relax into it, especially if they’re doing interviews all day and are exhausted. I just want to make them feel relaxed and have a bit of fun! I managed to get Nicole Scherzinger tap dancing when she came on my show [below]…
Impressive! Was that your career highlight so far, or something else?
Ahh, this a hard one! Presenting at Wireless Festival this summer was wicked, such a great experience, but my favourite has to be filming up the top of an Austrian mountain for MTV at Snowbombing festival. It was basically my dream job!
How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I’m not gonna lie – I like to sleep, probably more than I should! Other than that, going to gigs, out for dinner, the occasional bit of culture (or more likely, the pub..)
I also really like drawing and try to carry my sketch book around with me. It’s something I’ve done since I was a child.
What fashion things are you feeling right now?
I get inspiration from all over the place – Jane Birkin, Cher from Clueless, Liv Tyler in Empire Records, Marley Kate’s pictures, Nylon mag, My Little Pony, Charli XCX, Minnie Mouse, Terry Richardson, the V&A, my childhood dressing up box, Chloe Sevigny – the list goes on…
You give great fringe. Any tips for achieving this, please?
Ha ha, why thank you! Hmm, well definitely don’t put conditioner on it when you wash it. A greasy fringe isn’t a great look. But the main thing I do is just bend it with my GHDs before I leave the house, I don’t like it being too flat. Oh and sometimes I’ll put a roller in it while I’m doing my makeup!
Song that best describes your life?
I can’t stop listening to Beyonce’s Drunk in Love [below] right now! Can I say that, ha? I’m always falling in love! Other than that, Katy Perry’s Roar – I relate to a lot of the stuff she sings about.
What would you like to do before you die?
Have a tidy bedroom.